With both English clubs in need of a Toca's Miracle away at Bayern Munich and Barcelona this week, Daniel Storey picks ten comebacks from Champions League history to inspire them¿
Arsenal's frenetic start in the first leg had Bayern rattled before Wojciech Szczesny's sending-off. Playing with the same creativity and fearless streak would engender real belief...
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Swings And Roundabouts
I don't want to get bogged down in the whole debate whether Tiote's goal should have stood or not. It was disallowed rightly or wrongly dependent on your own interpretations, and probably coloured by who you support.
However, in the reverse fixture at the start of the season Negredo similarly had a goal disallowed for offside. So to prevent the gnashing of teeth and such can you realise it's all swings and roundabouts, and it's not worth all your time stewing about it?
When such instances reduces grown adult men, managing football teams to hurl childish insults to each other on the sidelines - it is ridiculousness in the extreme.
Martin Todoroski, MCFC
Why The Referee Was Right
The comment (by Ishnid) highlighted at the foot of F365's 'Disallowed goal not even the worst decision' article says: 'Gouffran didn't prevent Hart from playing the ball. He didn't block his line of vision. And he didn't make a deceiving/distracting "gesture". The only movement he made was to try and get out of the way.'
These last two sentences are totally contradictory. The law is subjective. The referee can only be right in this case. Alan Pardew will be at pains to point out during training this week that his strikers should get out of the goalmouth when the defence pushes up as they are risking a marginal offside decision going against them.
When attacking players stand in front of the goalkeeper at free-kicks I try to have a quiet word and tell them: "You are not actually offside, but, by standing there, you are risking a marginal offside decision going against you because of the subjectivity of interpreting the interference law. FFS make it easy for me and your teammates and get out of the effing way." Or words to that effect.
A referee, the North
...Judging from the uproar I think I'm going mad. Surely the ref was correct to disallow the decision?
Hart's watching the ball, which was hit from somewhere out slightly to his right, and moves across his body to the point that Hart would have to dive to his left.
In the process it goes straight at the opposition player, yards offside, and a few feet from Hart, who moves out of the way to allow the ball to go in.
As such, the opponent was materially affecting Hart's ability to save the shot - because Hart didn't know whether it was going to deflect off him, so he was rooted to the spot. He's therefore affecting play, and therefore offside, and I don't see what the hysterical over-reaction (and foul and abusive language from Pardew) was about.
Still, I'll wait to see what the Brains Trust on MOTD2 thinks, because they're always right and I know nothing.
Wilson 'All Alone In A Strange World' Beuys
Warming To Brendan
Although I am a City fan I am not writing in to discuss the goal that (probably) should have stood, the horrific tackle on Nasri or Pardew's interpersonal skills.
The reason I'm doing so is because a strange thing is happening - I'm starting to really warm to Brendan Rodgers.
'Spanish penalty' - brilliant!
CT (MCFC), Manchester
Ship Out Skrtel
Now that Brendan Rodgers has gotten the offense firing on all cylinders, it's time he revisit the defense. The first thing he needs to do is ship out Martin Skrtel. In my opinion he is (by far) the biggest defensive liability on the team. Just today he was, above all others, responsible for Charlie Adam's goal. It was a beautiful strike but he just backed off for far too long and by the time he finally decided to pressure Adam he fired a bullet into the corner. It was a brilliant finish but he should've never had that much time. Add into the mix as well the fact he tugs his man's shirt at every corner and he's a penalty waiting to happen. That's without adding his wrestling Ryan Shawcross to the ground and pinning him in the goal during a corner. How that was a penalty I'll never know. With players like Toure, Sakho, and the flimsy-but-hopefully-recovering Daniel Agger, Skrtel has no place at the club. If Liverpool is serious about the Champions League, ship him out and bring in another center-back.
A word on refereeing decisions as well. I simply don't believe that being four yards to the left of the goalkeeper is interfering with play, especially when he doesn't even move when the shot comes in. Watching the play multiple times, it's clear he's looking for an excuse right away. I do, however, agree that the failure to produce a red card for the 'challenge' on Samir Nasri is the greater refereeing mistake in the game. It was reckless and it cynical - a clear lashing out as a result of his failure to win the ball with his previous challenge. If it is a serious MCL injury Nasri could well be out of the World Cup.
Finally, with regards to the Sterling penalty - I am certainly not unbiased but I think it was a penalty. Sterling's run away from the defender and as he's pushed wide the defender sticks his leg out and catches Sterling. Was contact light - yes, but there was contact. I think the bigger issue for Mark Hughes should be why his defender was even sticking out a leg. He had forced Sterling away from goal, there was no support in the box at that point. It was a needless challenge.
Paul S., Liverpool fan, Baltimore, USA
Who knew that a cold, wet, Sunday night in Stoke would give us a Premier League classic and the match of the season so far?
Lorenzo (my New Year resolution is to become the next Chris MUFC) Royle, MUFC
Are Man U fans still convinced René Meulensteen is some sort of coaching genius?
Chris, EFC, London
Conspiracy Theory Of The Day
Anybody else think Big Sam could have been intentionally sabotaging West Ham in the last few weeks to get the porn barons to loosen the purse strings? Me neither, but it's not beyond the realms of possibility. He probably wants some shiny new players and the best way to achieve that is surely to flirt with disaster, not enough to lose his job though, sadly.
Ian, suffering from a boring weekend, Stavanger
United Were Good In Second Half
Just want to quickly thank F365 for focusing on the negatives with regards to our victory over Swansea. 'Despite a poor first half' we 'battled' to a 2-0 win. Never mind the very good second-half performance. Never mind that De Gea barely made a save. Never mind the fact it probably should have been about 4-0. Let's just focus on that first half. In fact, can we just pretend the second half didn't happen? I mean, it's not like it has as much relevance to the final scoreline as the first half or anything.
Summing It Up
Fletcher is better than Cleverley, Kagawa is better in the centre, Januzaj is great. Simples!
An England XI
Tell me, please, if this isn't the best way for England to start in Brazil:
Hart; Cole, Jagielka, Cahill, Johnson; Jones/Milner, Wilshere, Barkley; Sturridge, Rooney, Lallana
My contention to the obvious problem with this team would be: what exactly is that experience actually worth? Germany '06? South Africa '10?! This is the one that will at least give it a shot.
God I wish Owen Hargreaves had the constitution of Patrick Vieira though.
A Stopped Clock...
In Friday's Mediawatch you ridiculed Mark Lawrenson about his BBC predictions as he predicted eight 2-0s and two 1-1s. Don't get me wrong, I loathe the arrogant, nassaly, mullet-wearing tool, but u have to admit he did well! Out of eight 2-0 predictions, he got five spot on, one of the other games finished 1-0 and another was a 2-0 reverse. Liverpool were also very lucky to get a result as the ref seemed to have something against Stoke. That gives him 16 points already his best so far this season by three and he still has the Villa-Arse game left which he predicted 1-1.
Please carry on slating Lawro by all means, I love it. But on this occasion I think you need to hold up your hands and say well done son, well done!
Stuart (Cannot wait for Arsenal's annual February collapse) Mackenzie, Channel Islander in Dublin